Rob Pincus challenges some traditional notions of situational awareness, something people talk a lot about when it comes to self-defense. We mostly talk about situational awareness relating to avoiding a situation, such as crossing the street to avoid someone who looks dangerous. Another facet of it is knowing our surroundings, such as the exits in a hotel or restaurant. During travel, it means knowing where mass transit and rallying points are, among other safety concerns.

But there’s a practical aspect to situational awareness that is often overlooked when it comes to the fantasy of situational awareness many people live under.

Color Codes

Among self-defense concepts, people in the firearms community have traditionally given color codes to designate levels of situational awareness. The colors represent how aware a person is of their surroundings and how ready they are to defend themselves. For example, Condition White is completely oblivious to anything happening around you, and Condition Red or Black (depending on the system) is actually being in a fight. Conditions Yellow and Orange are in the middle. Defense-minded individuals often say they try to stay in Condition Yellow at all times.

The Impracticalities of 24/7 Condition Yellow

What they envision is that they have 360-degree awareness of everything going on around them at all times. Rob believes this is completely impractical in terms of looking at the way we can be situationally aware, how alert we are, and how much focus we really have.

Rob discusses why he believes this concept of always being in Condition Yellow is a myth, then presents a more practical example of situational awareness that he believes is applicable to how we live our daily lives. See if you agree with Rob and can work his ideas into your self-defense training and lower your odds of being ambushed.